Saturday, March 05, 2016
Article by John Walshe on the Elite Line-Up for the 2016 Ballycotton '10'
Despite the absence of Sergiu Ciobanu who would be going for a unique six-in-a-row, there is still an exciting line-up for this year’s race. Ciobanu, of Clonliffe Harriers, has won the race every year since 2011, recording his fastest time of 48:58 in 2014.
Having achieved the Olympic Marathon qualifying standard he, like Lizzie Lee, is more than likely concentrating on the World Half-Marathon championships which take place in Cardiff in three weeks time.
Making his Ballycotton debut is Joe Sweeney of DSD who is returning from injury. Second in the 2013 Dublin Marathon in a time of 2:18:19, the 6’ 2” Sweeney finished fifth in the GloHealth National Inter-Clubs last November, making the Irish team for the Europeans. He has a 10,000m track best of 28:45.17 and is coached by former Ballycotton record holder Jerry Kiernan.
Dave Flynn from Clonliffe finished eight in the Inter-Clubs and is currently based in the United States. He is moving up in distance and this will be his first race in Ireland over five miles, although he ran 67:04 for a half-marathon in Arizona back in January.
Also making his debut in the race is Mark Hanrahan of Leevale, currently in heavy training for a spring marathon. He did run the Ballycotton ‘5’ last August where his winning time of 24:10 was the fastest recorded in that race for 20 years.
Alan O'Shea (Bantry) has been in good form on the local scene in recent weeks and finished third in the race last year, with a second place the previous year to add to his victory back in 2007.
East Cork runners James McCarthy and Tim O'Donoghue have been regular top five finishers in recent years and will be joined by their club-mate Michael Harty who has just returned from a five-week training spell at altitude in Kenya.
With course record holder Maria McCambridge and former winner Lizzie Lee absent, the best of the women should be Siobhan O'Doherty who finished first in 2014 and second both last year and 2013 (when she recorded her fasted time of 56:56).
Aoife Cooke from Youghal, winner of the National Novice C-C last December should improve on her fourth place in Ballycotton 12 months ago. Aoife is niece of Mary Sweeney who won the first women’s race at Ballycotton in 1979 and is entered again, having finished second in the F50 category last year in 68:11.